Port Arthur city employee charged with metal theft

Raymond Johnson

Raymond Patrick Johnson, a City of Port Arthur Water Department employee assigned to the Water Distribution Department, was formally charged by the Jefferson County District Attorney’s Office with one third-degree felony count of theft of metal by a public servant and subsequently arrested March 18.

Johnson, 38, is the latest city employee arrested in a what has been an ongoing crusade against corruption in the city, and he has other cases pending against him that are still being investigated, according to the DA.

The metal Johnson is accused of stealing was reportedly property belonging to the City of Port Arthur Water Department that was sold to a scrap yard in Beaumont for his personal profit. Johnson was already on administrative leave with pay from his job with the city pending the outcome of the criminal investigation by the DA’s office and the Port Arthur Police Department. Since his arrest, the city has placed him on unpaid leave pending resolution of the criminal charges.

Theft of public property by a public servant is a third-degree felony offense. Johnson cooperated by surrendering to authorities. His bond was set at $12,000.

This case is part of an ongoing criminal investigation into public integrity crimes within the city of Port Arthur, and the DA’s office said they would make no further statements in reference to it until its resolution.

The DA’s office urges anyone with information on crimes involving public integrity issues or public integrity crimes in the city of Port Arthur to call them and speak to an investigator in the Public Integrity Division.

In the aftermath of the latest arrest of a city employee, Port Arthur City Manager Brian McDougal, a champion of the ongoing anti-corruption efforts, asserted that wrongdoers stealing from taxpayers would continue to be weeded out while honest city staffers have nothing to fear.

“It is still my belief that Port Arthur employees are honest, hard-working people,” said McDougal. “Unfortunately, the actions of one employee can challenge the public’s trust that we strive daily to build. We hope this arrest sends the message that such activities will not be tolerated.”

McDougal further encouraged employees and the public alike to follow the directive, “If you see something, say something,” and suggested using the newly initiated fraud hotline to report fraud activities. BKD Forensics & Valuation Services, a division of national CPA and advisory firm BKD, LLP, implemented the toll-free information line — (855) 858-3344 — as part of its forensic investigation into the city of Port Arthur. The confidential information line is meant to solicit information relevant to the investigation. Information can also be submitted online at IntegraReport.com.